Today’s Scripture:  “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”  2 Timothy 2:15

Introduction:

We arrive today at another one of my favorite Bible verses.  It may seem odd to have this as a favorite verse, but this verse tells us that if we want to show ourselves approved to God we need to study His Word.  I don’t know about you, but when it comes to verses like this that tells us how to find favor with God…these are the kinds of verses I pay attention to.

Today’s Message:

Our verse for today has two points that we can draw out, and take a look at.  The first being that we show ourselves approved unto God by studying His Word.  The second that studying the Bible will enable us to rightly divide the word of truth.  What does rightly dividing the Word of Truth mean?  It means that by studying the Word of God we should be able to divide between good sound doctrine, and the doctrine’s that are flooding pulpits today which is nothing but a bunch of lies straight from the pit of hell.

Look, I’m all for prosperity, but true biblical prosperity actually doesn’t come from a get rich quick scheme…it comes from being a good and faithful steward of what God blesses you with.  Learning how to get and stay debt free.  Plus, when it comes to prosperity and the abundant life most people…including myself think that abundant life means the accumulation of wealth and stuff.  However, what I’ve come to understand is that the abundant life has very little to do with material things, and everything to do with things that money cannot buy.

I believe that true biblical prosperity has very little to do with money at all.  That’s not to say that I’m in the ditch that believes that all Christians ought to be poor, and I’m also not of the belief that Christians are supposed to be filthy rich (need I bring up the parable of the man with the corn and barns again).  No, I believe true biblical prosperity is found in the contentment that Paul spoke of.  The contentment in no matter what circumstance you’re in.  Whether in abundance or lack…I believe true biblical prosperity is being content with whatever state you are in.

I believe that true biblical prosperity is about the fruits of the spirit.  The more of the fruits of the Spirit we are able to enjoy the more abundant life is.  I can say with conviction that I’ve never been happier in my life.  I have a wonderful family and home life.  I have a pretty good job.  I have a pretty good relationship with my parents today.  I have a car to drive, a roof over my head, clean clothes to wear, food in my stomach, and I really am not in lack of anything…that to me is the abundant life.  I don’t need four cars, a huge house, a million dollars, and all the “stuff” that people relate the abundant life too.  Being financially secure is only a part of the abundant life, but to me…it’s the accumulation of the things money cannot buy that leads to true biblical prosperity.

I’m also all for changing the way we think.  It’s good to meditate upon the Word of God.  It’s good to think of ourselves about how God sees us.  However, unless we speak and truly believe what we think…it doesn’t do us any good.  Jesus didn’t say that we should think about how nice it would be if the fig tree would move or if the mountain in front of us would bow down…He said speak to your mountain…speak to the fig tree…faith speaks…it doesn’t think.  So, while it’s great to improve our cognitive functions…positive thinking has very little to do with the Christian walk until we speak out our thoughts…and let me go a step further and say that unless our thoughts line up with the Word of God…then God’s under no obligation to bring to pass what we speak.  If what we think and say lines up with the Word of God…then yes…He has to honor His Word.

For the last time.  If you believe that there is any other way to Heaven, but through Jesus Christ.  You are not saved, and shouldn’t be preaching from a pulpit to begin with.  Listen, I’ve said it once, and I’ll probably say it a million times…John 14:6 is not up for negotiation.  There is only one interpretation of this verse…and if yours isn’t that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior…than YOUR INTERPRETATION OF THIS VERSE IS WRONG!!!

So, it’s very important…especially in this day and age to study the Word of God.  Not only will it gain us approval in the sight of God, but it will help us to sift through the garbage and lies that are being preached from pulpits across this country…and the world.  If we don’t study the Bible then that’s where we wind up being sucked up in every wind of doctrine tossed to and fro not really sure what we believe or why we believe what we believe.

So, if you’d like to know how to sift through the crap coming from the pulpits on TBN, and other places study the Word of God.  If you’d like to know a way to be approved to God…study the Word of God.  It really is THAT important to our walk with God…so how important is reading the Bible to you?

Study Questions:

  1. What does “work hard” mean in this verse?
  2. Do you feel like this is attainable?
  3. Why or Why not?

Conclusion & Prayer:

I wrote in another message “The Time Has Come” back in January something similar.  Here are some things I said in that message that fit in with what I’m writing here today.

In this Burger King generation where everything has to be quick, my way, and entertainment…the church has sadly obliged people. The church has sacrificed sound doctrine for the sake of church growth.

I guess this conclusion is really an answer to the first study question.  It’s hard word to put together good, sound biblical messages.  It means that I have to take time to really know what the Word of God says, and that I can’t just “wing it”.  I could, but I wouldn’t do the Holy Ghost any favors, and I probably wouldn’t write very good messages either.

Part of the blame is on the church because sound doctrine requires time, work, and study…and people have become too busy to do that.

The blame also falls on pastors who have become so concerned with attendance, finances, and making sure they are entertainment for a congregation that they will lose if it goes too far into the first half of the Cowboys game.

Pastor’s have too much to do today.  They are trying to take on the work of the entire ministry on their own.  Marketing, Attendance, Counseling, Weddings, Funerals, Accounting, and entertaining his congregation.  So, as we see in my next statement from The Time Has Comeall this extra work and unwillingness to delegate leads to a falling away from studying the Word of God.  So, rather than study they put together a half-hour sermon that they probably found on one of the many online sights devoted to helping pastors come up with entertaining sermons complete with jokes, illustrations, but completely lacking of the inspiration, unction or direction of the Holy Ghost.

Listen, I’m going to be honest with you.  If I find that I’m unable to write a message I’m not going to “wing it” for the sake of writing a message.  No, if the Holy Ghost isn’t in what I’m writing than I’d rather not write a message at all than to write one just for the sake of writing one.  That doesn’t do you any good, and like I have already said…I’m pretty sure that if I do that my messages won’t be any good.

Also, in this desire of pastors to entertain is a turning away from the truth of God’s Word.

Today’s messages are about the blessings, prosperity, and how to make people feel good about themselves.

There’s little about how to live a life that is a blessing to others and God.  No, today’s messages are all about how you can be blessed, and it’s good to know that.  However, if I never hear messages on the Love Walk or Sin or anything that challenges me…I am just going to be a Christian full of milk.  I’m never going to grow out of the baby stage…and I’m constantly going to have to have my diaper changed and be burped.

Listen, you wouldn’t feed a person nothing but milk from the day their born until they become full-grown adults would you?  Then why do pastors do that to their congregations?  They have pews full of malnourished Christians who all need to be burped and have their diapers changed.  At some point you have to begin the Gerber Stages, and start feeding your congregations more solid food…and eventually they will get to a stage where you can teach them meat and potatoes and vegetables and even give them some desert too.

However, it requires the “hard work” of studying the Word of God.  After all, if you’re not giving people the Word of God then you’re just giving your opinion.  Opinions are like armpits…they all stink.  Give them the Word.  Don’t worry if it’s not 3 songs, a half-hour message, and no altar call.

For God’s sake.  The question comes again.  Whatever happened to Preaching the Word, whatever happened to giving the Holy Spirit free reign to do what He wants in a service, and whatever happened to pastors who are willing to study to shew themselves approved unto God…workmen that aren’t ashamed of the Bible…and who can rightly divide and teach good…sound…biblical doctrine?

I, however, am still called by God to preach the Word. I still get out my Bible to study & show myself approved, and the football game…well…I can check the scores later.

God is a priority…scratch that…is THE priority in my life. I want sound doctrine, I hope that I teach sound doctrine, and I don’t go to church to be entertained…I go to meet with Jesus.

I’m tired of prosperity, I’m tired of feel good religion.
I’m tired of empty messages.

I want a real authentic walk with God…that only comes from revelation from the truth of the sound doctrine of God’s Word.

“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.” (1 Corinthians 16:23-24)

Blessing & Grace to you
Bryan J. Kizer

Heavenly Father, we glorify You.  We give You honor and praise.  Thank You God for the Word of God.  Thank You for raising up pastors who still love and have a desire to Preach The Word.  Thank You for giving this pastor the ability and fire and passion for Your Word…and I humbly ask that You’d continue to stoke the fire for Your Word that it would only grow hotter and more intense…In Jesus’ name…Amen & Amen